Find fantastic ideas for things to do on a Friday, just in case you've left it to the last minute. Check out the best entertainment, nightlife and events happening in the capital this Friday. The weekend starts here...
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On Friday, parts of the Charterhouse will be open to the public for the first time in its 660 year history, revealing the great story of this sprawling urban oasis at the heart of London. The Charterhouse, set deep within stone walls in the heart of Clerkenwell, is a remarkable assembly of historic buildings dating from the 14th century. Over the years it has been a religious site, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse.
2016 marks the 150th anniversary of celebrated children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, who was a frequent visitor to the museum where she would often sit and sketch. This exhibition celebrates the date with artworks, original sketches and her earliest published works on show.
The bright lights of Canary Wharf's towers already provide quite the spectacle after dark, but the area glows even more than usual throughout January thanks to the addition of a variety of installations from international artists. Winter Lights returns in 2017 with 30 dazzling artworks, installations and interactive experiences, with many on show in the UK for the first time. Highlights include a live graffiti weekend with work crafted from light (Jan 19-21) and 'Angels of Freedom' which sees five giant wings created by Merav Etan and Gaston Zahr that allow visitors to transform into angels using photography and social media. Visit the Winter Lights website for more information and to see the full programme.
January 20th 2017 is the day that President-elect Donald Trump takes office, but unbeknownst to many, it also happens to be the day Ice Cube rapped about in his seminal song It Was A Good Day. Rather than mourn the current news, a group of artists are choosing to celebrate Ice Cube’s 1992 hit with an exhibition dedicated to it.
From Whitechapel Market, you can look west along the high street to where the Gherkin stands out above the City. It might as well be the Emerald City for all the relevance it has here: this is a non-stop, heaving, all-weather, cacophonous East End micro-economy, born of pragmatism rather than fashion and largely sustained by local Bangladeshis. Go for fruit, phonecards, pots and pans, fish, spices, cleaning products and the sort of vegetables you might have to ask the name of. For a lunch break visit Needoo Grill: just over the road, this no-frills BYO restaurant serves excellent Punjabi food.
Trouble Vision has established itself as one of the prime nights for classy, leftfield house and techno shenanigans, covering everything from slick 4/4 to sweaty warehouse rave to cosmic disco. It attracts a cool, party-hungry crowd who are always up for going the distance and beyond. You may well have trouble with your vision after raving in a dark room with these pros for a night.
Now three years auld, this riotously fun party to celebrate Scotland's randiest poet features all the traditional Burns Night festivities given a modern twist. There'll be a three-course Burns supper – including live pipers 'piping in' everyone's favourite offal-based dish, the haggis – recitals of Robbie Burns's poetry, a lot of hearty toasting with a good few drams of whisky (from a specially built whisky bar) and a huge, delightfully rowdy ceilidh. The party takes place in the beautiful St John-at-Hackney Church over three nights, so there's no excuse not to indulge. It's what Rabbie would have wanted.
It's back! Oh, how we have missed it so. Moved from its base at the Scala to this, its new Camden home and still following the footsteps of Guilty Pleasures and the Erection Section, this sell-out night is where the ballads rule and the more key changes, big hair and rocking out you can do, the better you'll be for it. If you're a fan of '80s power ballads and glam rock bands, then here's your bad perm-shaped calling.
Colourful techno duo Simian Mobile Disco are always a safe bet for a storming live show. As well as rolling out their immense and widely loved back catalogue, broadly covering glitchy electro and pumping dancefloor attacks that never get old, SMD are known for unleashing acid techno warfare in a live setting, which always goes down a treat.
The former Beta Band frontman – who also records under the monikers King Biscuit Time and Black Affair – returns to the stage for a solo show. As ever, it's lo-fi, melodic songwriting that veers between gently uplifting pop and wistful wanderings, but it's done with more flair than most could manage.
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This Greek spot in Marylebone didn’t exactly hit the ground running. In Opso’s first month it took me three visits to find the kitchen in full tilt. Visit one had a partial menu. On visit two the restaurant was unexpectedly closed. A stoic third attempt was rewarded with some excellent meze dishes. Opso blends its modern architectural look with a contemporary menu of small plate dishes – mezédes – that are pimped up almost beyond recognition. ‘Taramas cream’ (taramasalata) was a world away from bright pink supermarket tubs. Served with crisp olive crackers, the pale, untinged cod roe was delicate and fresh. Served as a dessert, tsoureki – a brioche-like bread usually eaten at Easter – was like a panettone in appearance and lightness. This, like all the other baked goods, was made in house. It came flavoured with mahlab and mastic, traditional Greek spices made from cherry kernels and tree resin respectively, giving it a distinctive, almost bitter almond or cedar aroma. Served with clotted cream and sour cherry jam, it was like an Attic afternoon tea. Not all dishes were improved by modernisation, though. Pastitsio is usually a lasagne-like slab of macaroni baked with ground beef and béchamel sauce: comfort food. But here the elements were deconstructed and swapped around, then plated in a mound, ‘MasterChef Greece’-style. Although the allspice flavours in the beef were good, tagliatelle-style pasta was a fiddle too far. The simpler dishes worked best, such as the dakos,